An Alternative to Homework

The situation: I want my students to read a section of their social studies textbook for homework.
Instead of: making students answer questions that prove that they have read the information
Try this: Ask students to list 2 important details they learned from the reading assignment AND post 2 questions they still have after reading the assignment.
For example, I had my 4th grade students read Sections 3 – 8 in their social studies textbook for homework and wanted to have some sort of assessment to prove that they read the material. Instead of giving them a worksheet to complete either while they were reading or the next day in class, I posted the following on our class portal discussion board (you could use a blog if you do not have a portal) and had the students respond:
After reading Chapter 13 (Sections 3 – 8) on TCI, write 2 sentences describing what you learned from this reading AND 2 questions to ask another student.
Example (You may not use my example.)
1. After reading chapter 13, I learned that mercenaries are soldiers hired to fight for a foreign army.
2. I was surprised to learn that colonists refused to give the British soldiers food and supplies.
1. Did loyalists fight for the British during the revolution?
2. After the war, were loyalists treated fairly?

Follow up assignment the next day in class: Review what the students posted and have them respond to at least one other person’s posts.

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